The mass-market brewers can actually produce potable beers when
they try: Coors, source of such atrocities as Coors Extra Gold and
Zima, used to sell a decent ale as Killian's, and for all I know
still makes a tolerable Winterfest. Every so often I get suckered
into buying a fake micro-brew put out by one of the big guys, and
usually I'm disappointed.
Michelob Centennial is "premium blended using only the finest
barley malt, hops, yeast, and water," according to the label. In
this statement, Anheuser-Busch implies that this beer would have
been legal under the old German Reinheitsgebot, which allowed no
other ingredients, but at the same time weasels out: blended with
what? Animal urine? The word "only" could give them legal trouble.
Such phrases as "premium beer" and "Michelob tradition of quality"
are tocsins, and "premium blend" is as much an oxymoron as "luxury
This beer is amber, and is hopped with more than the usual Saaz,
though I couldn't place the other hops. It's very sweet and unusually
sticky for an A.-B. beer, with not enough bittering hops. Even when
cold it's definitely malty, but even then it also has what I call "the
cheap taste": the off-taste of adjuncts. I suppose that this is from
At a temperature suitable for good beers, Michelob Centennial has
a definite alcohol bite which the malty flavor doesn't balance. The
dark malts that make it amber also improve its taste, but the adjunct
flavors overwhelm everything else and make it unpleasant to drink. I
couldn't finish my review bottle, which is just as well because I'm
getting fat. (Perhaps I should review nothing but mass-market beers
for a few months. I'm also tempted to do a taste-test of all the
low-calorie and low-alcohol beers I can find.)
I don't know where the name "Michelob" comes from; my smattering
of German leads me to think that it ought to be a beer brewed in honor
of St. Michael the Archangel. If so, God and His angels must have
boundless mercy towards those who insult them, because I've never
heard of fire from Heaven raining down on Anheuser-Busch breweries.